Nature Friday ~ December 3, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to this week’s edition of  Nature Friday where we join our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

This week’s nature moment is a bit of a travelogue from last week’s Thanksgiving festivities from my trip with my Dad and brother to see family in the Lone Star state. It was so special seeing everyone after losing mom earlier in the year. One moment however did dampen the holiday when we ‘encountered‘ a deer at dusk in rural Texas. Other than the deer, the only other casualty was Dad’s car but we were thankfully, unscathed (other than frazzled nerves). Getting there was quite the adventure with miles and miles of wide open spaces that were particularly stunning for this here city-slicker.

With miles of driving, taking hours and hours to reach our destination just outside Austin, our route took us through the northern part of New Mexico’s quiet plains. Vistas with plateaus in the distance and flat-to-rolling plains along the highway showed a “Dances With Wolves” landscape. Wide open and unblemished save for the occasional fence post. It made me wonder what was being corralled for no antelope, deer or cattle were spotted as we drove through.

NM

Apart from wide open spaces, miles and miles of cotton fields were encountered once we reached the Panhandle. It was beyond anything I’d ever seen before. Fields of white fluff as far as the eye could see.

Cotton fields
Image courtesy of Flicker, Northwest Texas

Getting to Texas is a long, challenging drive. My first shift behind the wheel was 5 hours long and yet there was still so much farther to go. After my brother hit the deer and made a turn in the wrong direction, we ended up spending the night in Abilene. We arrived at my sister’s the next day.

Pecan

Reaching my sister’s took us through pecan country. These beautiful trees can be seen from roadsides as well as directly in my sister’s neighborhood. The pecan tree, like the fruit of other members of the hickory genus, is not truly a nut, it’s technically a drupe meaning fruit with a single stone/pit,  surrounded by a husk produced from the exocarp tissue of the flower (the internal structure of the fruit, i.e. its ovaries). The  nut develops from that structure and contains the seed. My sister said they are a ‘messy tree,’ having spent days and days raking up leaves and hulls before we arrived. I was captivated by the large, wide canopy on these trees.

Pecan

In addition to pecans, live oaks (which don’t lose their leaves) were abundant. This one was full of  acorns and filled my head with visions of clever craft projects.

Oak tree

The landscape was not all drab, with this colorful beauty gracing the pool area. “Duranta repens” (a part of the verbena family native from Mexico to South America and the Caribbean) is a flowering ornamental shrub. It’s apparently considered an invasive weed in some areas of Australia but is very striking.

Flowers

Despite warm temps (warm by Colorado standards), Thanksgiving Day was deemed ‘chilly’ in that it only reached the upper 50’s for our traditional family game of football following the tasty meal. There was a brisk wind which, coupled with humidity, made it seem cooler than the numbers might suggest. It struck me how relative perspective played out with each of our interpretations of ‘chilly.’

My canine buddy during the visit was sweet little Miley who decided I was a good auntie and kept me from missing Norman and Elsa too much. A pocket full of tasty treats and belly rubs go a long way.

Miley

Our return trip was uneventful and we powered through 13 1/2 hours of driving in one felled swoop. A long drive buoyed by great memories of a family who enjoys celebrating holidays with one another no matter what the cost. Hopefully we can make another trip down there without time restrictions and really enjoy some of the amazing slices of nature along the way.

Now that we’re in December and many of us are preparing for the next holiday, we hope you’ll be able to sandwich in some time during these hectic days enjoying a quiet moment of pleasure experiencing nature at its best. Have a great weekend!

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ October 29, 2021

Nature FridayWelcome to the last Friday of October for this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we observed some urban Nature. As always, we’re joining our PNW pals, Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

While parts of the both Coasts were pounded by rain, the Mile High received a pittance of wet stuff and what did fall was more leaves than moisture. It was very windy for a couple of days so a lot of leaves are no longer on trees. I was determined to find any remaining color on yesterday afternoon’s walk and  was quite surprised at what I encountered. Care to tag along on a walk through the ‘Hood to see what we found?

First off, many trees still look like those in my yard. Green with brown edges. Even my two Locust trees are only slightly yellow, fairly unusual for this time of year. The Catalpa looks as if it’s still channeling summer. Its leaves mockingly stare with a look of disapproval when I pulled out the leaf rake. I think I heard it chortle, “Fat chance, lady-you ain’t getting rid us any time soon.”

Trees

Ok, big boy, but your day will come…one way or another. Think wet snow, dude. Many oaks I’ve come across look similar but not nearly as arrogant as the Catalpa. I think they’re just trying to figure out what the heck is going on this autumn.

Trees

As I wandered about, I was determined to find some colorful trees. And I wasn’t disappointed. Looks like it pays to take different routes on occasion to see different landscapes. Ahem…you hear that Elsa…Miss Can’t Possibly Deviate from the Route” walking partner. I feel rather foolish for kvetching about a lack of color on our daily walks. I stand corrected, Mother Nature, with my apologies.

While this maple had a lot of green on it, there were a fair number of red mixed in on the lower branches.

Leaves

This maroon beauty was especially pretty even in the shadows of a corner lot.

Trees

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a long autumn walk on a clear day. We’ve been blessed with lots of those trademark Colorado bluebird skies lately and they stand out in between colorful leaves.

Trees

Colorado’s rising COVID numbers may be depressing, but receiving a healthy dose of Vitamin D daily helps keep the spirits up.

Trees

Turning onto a new street, this red beauty practically screamed at me.

Trees

At least it should be easy distinguishing fallen leaves on the ground from brown grass and leaves as shown on this nearby sidewalk.

Leaves

A detour over to Sloan’s Lake shows how clear the skies were yesterday. The downtown skyline gleamed.Sloans Lake

While on my walks, I’ve been noticing Halloween decorations. The neighborhood has really gone all out. My favorite house that I pass every day has a colossus skeleton, a dozen life size skellies, and a dog skelton (they are the people who had the gigantic Aragog spider that I featured earlier). Yesterday they had added 3 vultures overlooking their fence. Earlier in the week, the colossus was engaged in a game of tug-o-war (see on our Instagram feed) with the skellies. These folks must have a great sense of humor. I always laugh at their latest arrangement with the decorations.

Halloween

People seem to be embracing costumes too. This local pup was dressed in prison stripes behind bars of his yard which made me giggle. “Louie” was not amused by my response and barked ferociously as I passed.

Dogs

It’ll be interesting to see if any Trick-o-Treaters will venture out this weekend. The weather is set to change here with rain/snow showers starting Sunday evening. Typical Colorado weather for Halloween. I’ll be prepared just in case some fool trick-o-treaters decide freezing is worth a piece of candy.

What are your plans for the “Howl-oween” weekend? Staying in or going out? Whatever you do, we hope there’s some outside time taking in all that Nature offers us when we only take a moment to look. Stay safe but have fun.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Festival Recap ~ Part Deux

Hello mates, Norman here to share more photos from the weekend’s adventures mum and I had at hospital’s Fall Festival. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but any time I get a chance to ride in the car, I’m in. Just don’t forget to bring my costume, mum!

Norman

There were a lot of games for all those little people to play. I came “this” close to catching that ball till mum reminded me that I was there as an observer, not a participant.

Norman

But don’t cry for me, I got to spend some quality one-on-one time with lots of little people…some of them even tried to poke my eye out give me a treat.

Norman

No sweat, little guy. I like pineapples.

The Flight for Life helicopter made an appearance and all the  kiddos wanted to sit in it. It was pretty noisy but great fun for attendees.

Helicopter

We had a great time hanging out with the other pet therapy dogs and their mums. Logan and his mum, Janet went dressed up as “Mardi Growls.” These guys definitely know how to ‘par-tay!’

ELMC

My friend Delia, a hospital staffer, brought her recently rescued pup to the event. Bubba definitely won the dog lotto by getting adopted by her as she is one of the kindest people we’ve met at hospital. He wasn’t quite sure what to make of me so I was careful to be extra kind to him so as not to scare the little guy.

Bubba

Nurses seem to be drawn to me, and you know what? I don’t mind one little bit.

ELMC nurse

Face painting and painting pumpkins were a bit hit with lots of diligent artists.

ELMC Fall Festival

Our group led the pet parade for all dogs in attendance as well as anyone who wanted to walk with us.

ELMCMum and I spread the word about the very cool backdrop at the photo booth. My pal Bindee and her mum, Joy took  advantage. Isn’t Bindee just the cutest little pumpkin you’ve ever seen on a lap?

Our director, Donna has a beautiful and super talented black  miniature poodle. Roxie, a champion dancer who also competes in nose work, is nothing like my sister and she made sure to tell me not all black poodles are Ninjas. Whew…that’s a  relief!

Even mum and I decided to get in on the action at the photo booth. We’re just a “couple of jokers” having a good time.

Jokers

It was good seeing our Golden pal Riley and her mum, Jaycee. Riley has been very sick this past year with an autoimmune disorder and is just now able to bring smiles to people. She’s a real sweetheart and loved by all who meet her.

Fall Festival

A group photo of the pet therapy dogs show we’re a good looking and a well behaved bunch.

ELMC Fall Festival

As events go this one was a nice family affair. It was good being able to spend time in the community after last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID. But I can assure you, I was one knackered boy at the end of the day. I fell fast asleep in the Ninja’s bed-something I never do (she wasn’t too happy about it but I was so tired and it was the first bed I found).

Norman

Mum and I are back at hospital again today after having great visits yesterday. We’ll share details about those adventures soon. What do you plan to wear for Halloween fun?

Halloween

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ Fall Festival Recap

Greetings and happy Monday. Norman and some of his fellow pet therapy friends participated at this year’s Halloween Fall Festival over the weekend. This hunk continues to impress me with his calm nature, especially at an event with loads of sugared-up kiddos, absent minded adults not watching where they’re stepping and a loud entertainment system blasting hip-hop music. Still, a good time was had by one and all. Here are some photos from the event.

Norman continues to impress me around little kids. Many of them are understandably wary of this ‘Joker’ because of his size. But he was patient and calm, especially around the smallest ones and managed to drew crowds of both big and little peeps. Norman was only too happy to serve up kisses.

Norman

This smiling Princess was initially hesitant to pet Norman but then she realized he was soft and sweet. Soon she was very happy meeting Norman and he loved the attention he received.

Norman

There were a number of non pet therapy pups in attendance and this miniature Dachshund named Amelia was in dog heaven greeting them all with one of the fastest tail wags I’ve ever seen. She was very smitten with Norman despite the size differential. Norman and I tried to recruit her for the program because she was such a sweetie and just loved everyone.

Dogs  Norman was thrilled to see his little pal, Bindee, who charmed the pants off young and old alike in her pumpkin costume. She didn’t seem to mind posing with this ‘Joker.’

Norman

There were loads of games and activities for kids to enjoy and a variety of good hearted hospital staff to greet them as well, along with a nice photo booth for family photos.

Halloween

“Little Bo Peep” (and fellow pet therapist) Dawn was voted best huMom by all the pet therapy dogs for sharing bites of hot dog with the gang. Pictured with Norman are Logan, an agility champion (dressed as “Mardi Growls”) and her Dolly posing as a lost lamb, as Dawn shared bites for the gang. As a dog trainer she knew just how to enlist their attention and even though they are all professionals, events like this can be somewhat overwhelming.

Halloween

Norman will be back at hospital today for visits with nurses and patients. He will post more photos from the weekend event tomorrow. We hope these costumed therapy dogs brought you a smile to start out your week.

Halloween

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 11, 2021

Smiles

Here’s hoping all your social media this week is likeable and makes you smile. 👍🏻

Live, love, bark!🐾

Whoopee Wednesday!

Hello there mates, Norman here sharing the final total figure raised as a postscript to yesterday’s post recapping the OES Picnic and Fundraiser. We in fact raised…ahem…drumroll please…$1,812 which will help provide resources for Old English Sheepdogs who come through our rescue. It was a well organized event for which I offer my deepest gratitude to all who helped, donated and attended this event.

Congratulations with loads of butt wiggles to all who work tirelessly all year long to benefit these remarkable pets who, through no fault of their own, come through the rescue. To everyone who has a special love for this wonderful breed and to all the vendors, supporters and attendees who have contributed to the cause, thank you from the bottom of my OES 💙.

OES Picnic
Photo courtesy of Colorado OES Rescue

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ September 20, 2021

Smiles

Wishing you loads of friendly encounters this week.

Live, love, bark!

Monday Musings ~ August 23, 2021

Smiles

Here’s wishing you nothing but excellent walks and sniffs this week.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 16, 2021

Here’s hoping there isn’t too much on your to-do list. Happy Monday.

Smiles

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ August 9, 2021

Let’s hope all your ‘pee-vites’ receive a proper RSVP this week. Happy Monday.

Monday

Live, love, bark! 🐾